Ejections, hard fouls, and a few flipped birds have been the common theme through the first two games of the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors Western Conference Playoffs series which is currently tied at one game apiece. With two games coming up in the Bay area, a common buzzword has been used when describing head coach Taylor Jenkins’ Grizzlies and their playing style, and that is dirty. A theme that Jenkins has emphatically denied heading into Saturday’s Game 3.
"We're the furthest thing from dirty, we're competitive."
— Taylor Jenkins on the narrative that the Grizzlies are "dirty"
🎥 @samariaterry pic.twitter.com/7WGqzzWb4h
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 5, 2022
When questioned about the narrative that the Grizzlies’ physical style goes above and beyond norms in the NBA, Jenkins immediately rebuked the claims.
“I look at my locker room and I look at our culture and what we exude, we’re the furthest thing from dirty,” Jenkins said. “We’re competitive, so I want that to be squashed pretty quick here.”
The claims come after a series that has seen its fair share of questionable plays. Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks struck Warriors guard Gary Payton II across the head on a play that resulted in a flagrant foul-2 ejection for Brooks. Payton fractured his elbow during the play and has been declared out for the remainder of the series, which earned Brooks a suspension for Game 3 on Saturday.
This comes after embattled Warriors star big man Draymond Green was charged with a flagrant 2 foul and subsequently ejected from Game 1 after he made contact with Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke. In Game 2, Green would return to the court only to leave it while greeting Grizzlies fans with two middle fingers and calling out the aforementioned play by Brooks as dirty.
The budding rivalry continues this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.